Silence….And Tea and Conversation With Our Daughter

Sigh.  Have you all missed me?  I missed all of you…

Well, this past Easter week was a crazy blur on the outside with many activities, many things going on in life that needed my attention:  the children and their activities at this time of year is extremely busy with rhythmic gymnastics competitions and church choir and the annual church musical.  It is also a busy time of year for the position I hold in a breastfeeding organization.  There is also our sweet but busy toddler, and decisions to be made about remodeling our home or selling it.

But inward I felt silent.  Most of all, my heart is continually with my father, who is battling cancer.  There are many difficulties on that front, the least of which is being very far away from him.  We all  returned to my home state in March and will be heading back there soon.

God knows these things in my life.  And what came from my talks with God at this point actually was a bit surprising:  it  was this very distinct picture of my oldest daughter, now ten and a half.  She has changed so much from the beginning of the school year, the beginning of fourth grade until now.  Ten and a half still is the very heart of childhood, but at least in her case, I can see the glimpses of the woman she will be.  And in the midst of all these different things going on, the message I got was to capture this time with her, that this time is very sweet and precious.

There are so many things to teach our children before they no longer live with us and are out on there own.  I feel we can do a good job in many areas– after all, homeschooling the way we do is full of  vigorous academics, plus the practical work of the hands in handwork, cooking, cleaning, gardening, and other domestic arts – and in the fine arts that enrich the soul.

But there are also the very practical things I want to impart regarding marriage, family, the struggles and challenges most young women face today.  I may be sensitive to this because my mother died when I was young and didn’t get to impart any of her ideas on these subjects to me,( although I was fortunate to have other family members who did).  It was underscored for me this week when an close friend of my close friend died and she was younger than me, leaving behind two children.

What are you doing with your children’s hearts?  Are you layering in conversations with them about the important things in life?  Many times these moments happen as we spend time with our children and things naturally arise, but I also wanted to have a bit more of a systematic approach with this picture I had laid on my heart.

I had a great opportunity on Easter Friday to have an hour and fifteen minutes with just my oldest daughter and I seized it.  We have had conversations before about good health, smoking and alcohol and drug use, pregnancy and childbirth, the needs of the infant, a little bit about child development, menstruation….but we touched on some new areas today in our time.

My brief “systematic list of things about  life” looks somewhat like this, and much of it will come up in what I model and more directly as my daughter becomes older….

  • The Proverbs 31 Woman – a model for us as women
  • The Foundation of Christian Life – going to church, having a personal relationship with Christ through reading the Bible, prayer, memorizing Scripture, using the lives of the Saints as a model for our lives, the Fruits of the Spirit, the role of obedience and sacrifice in the Christian life, stewardship
  • Marriage, Children – how does a career fit into this?  Choosing a mate is the most important decision in life, so I want to layer in about “dating” and relationships with the opposite sex prior to marriage, husbands, taking care of husbands, intimacy and respect in marriage,  the joy and gift that children are, practical steps in building a family life
  • Serving Others, boundaries in serving others
  • Respecting yourself and others
  • How to Communicate/Conflict Resolution
  • Health – whole foods and how to prepare, drug use and abuse, homeopathy and chiropractic, exercise, the role of sleep, care before, during and after the menstrual cycle, the importance of rhythm for health, fertility
  • Money – budgeting, how to handle money
  • Modesty in dress
  • The Christian idea of beauty, the difference between inward and outward beauty
  • Designing a wardrobe, natural skin care and body care

You might wonder how to put together a list like this that reflects your family’s values.  I stated with the catechism of our faith, my own beliefs as influenced by La Leche League and attachment parenting and childhood development, the resource “Polished Cornerstones”, a Christian publication for mothers and daughters available through Doorposts, and the book “5 Conversation You Must Have With Your Daughter” by Vicki Courtney.  This list is not complete nor reflective of everything we think, but it is a good place to start.  Perhaps you can design your own thoughts for what wisdom you would like to impart to your older children.

Love to you all,

Carrie

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14 thoughts on “Silence….And Tea and Conversation With Our Daughter

  1. Dear Carrie, I am so sorry to hear that your family is dealing with illness. Our family has also recently experienced the toll that cancer takes on the whole family. My father endured quite a lot in his last few years and it was so hard to see him through this time. But we also learned so much from each other and from the intensity of it all. Love and faith really carried us through each moment. He was so thankful that he got to meet and spend time with his first grand-daughter. He did finally pass away just a few days before my second daughter was born, just over 2.5 years ago. We still miss him every day, but are thankful that he is no longer suffering.

    While it must be so difficult when you are also distanced from your father at this time, I am glad that you have your faith to guide you in this and in also raising your children. I remember too feeling the conflict of wanting to be with my father but also wanting to make sure I be really ‘present’ for my daughter when I was with her and let her feel loved during that very dificult time. This was such a beautiful post. All the best to you and your family.

  2. What a great post- thank you so much for sharing your experience with your daughter and your intentional conversation list. I am inspired to create my own list for my boys when they reach that age (my oldest is now 8). I feel many of the topics on your list also applies to boys, and as a former health educator, I feel my boys would benefit by understanding more about women’s cycles and pregnancy and childbirth as well.

    Many thanks for this post!

  3. Thanks for this post. You certainly give food for thought. I’ve made a mental note to talk to my daughter about these things. She’s nearly four and has just started asking interesting questions about life, (‘Tell me about when I was a twinkle in daddy’s eyes and a flutter in your tummy?), death (‘Is God dead?’) and the Universe (Where does the sun go at night time?). I wonder if you could remind me how Steiner suggested to answer these questions? I read something a while back and would like a refresher course in how to respond to children’s questions.

    • HI Mandy!! I think there is a back post regarding small children and questions..I think at this point you are really nurturing the child’s ability to come up with their own answers, to not “pigeon hole” them in with this dry list of facts..four year olds do have a lot of questions, but keep answering them imaginatively as possible, with a song or a rhyme if you have one handy in your head to pull out…you are doing a great job. I will see if I can round up a back post for you!

      Blessings,
      Carrie

  4. Dear Carrie, I just wanted to send you love and my sympathies at this time of difficulties for you. My father has been battling cancer for a number of years now, and I think his days are definitely numbered now. I moved back to NZ to be closer to him, but even living a couple of hours drive away makes it difficult to spend quality time together.
    My dread has always been ‘what if I die and leave my children young and motherless’. I think your idea of systematic list of topics is a good idea. And I’ve been thinking that I really need to PLAN to spend time with each of my children individually too. Too often we’re a ‘bunch’. And most of our conversations stem around …getting ready to go somewhere, sorting meals, getting dressed, getting teeth brushed, resolving arguements, etc

  5. I did miss you!

    I must say, it seems that you and I have such similar values. I so wish that I could sit down and have a cup of tea with you and pick your brain and ask you a million and one questions. Maybe someday…

  6. Hello Carrie,
    I am sorry to hear about what you and your family are going through right now! You are in our prayers!

    I really like the list you have put together, a very good idea to put such things in written form.

  7. Wonderful post. You guys are in our prayers always.

    These girls of ours… they are growing so fast. These are conversations I am having with mine often. They need to know what matters to us and why.

    Beautiful!

  8. I’ve been pondering this post for days, and am so inspired by it. I have a four-year-old girl (and boys two and seven) and it has amazed me how much she seems to want to know about pregnancy, birth, babies and God–things that are dear to me, and that I have also shared about often with her brother. And while I know he takes in my little comments and stories, it’s clear something is happening at a deeper level with my daughter. Somehow I didn’t expect that this feeling would come so soon, that I am sharing the values that govern my life by word as well as by deed. And particularly, that I am sharing my sense of what it is to be a woman. So I’m making my list, since this sharing is so much the work of parenting, and can get lost in the day to day. Thank you, Carrie!

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